If Wishes Were Horses
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If Wishes Were Horses

4.1 84
by Robert Barclay
     
 

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In this unforgettable novel of love, hope, and second chances, a grieving man's personal plan for redemption is suddenly and unexpectedly turned upside down . . . .

If Wishes Were Horses

Wyatt Blaine desperately seeks a reason to continue. Devastated by the senseless deaths of his wife and son at the hands of a drunk

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Overview

In this unforgettable novel of love, hope, and second chances, a grieving man's personal plan for redemption is suddenly and unexpectedly turned upside down . . . .

If Wishes Were Horses

Wyatt Blaine desperately seeks a reason to continue. Devastated by the senseless deaths of his wife and son at the hands of a drunk driver, he remains unable to forgive, and to love again. Searching for a sense of peace, he decides to revive his late wife's equine therapy program for troubled teens at the Blaine family ranch. By honoring her memory in this way, he hopes to find the sense of closure that has long eluded him.

But then Wyatt's pastor asks for the impossible—for Wyatt to meet with Gabby Powers, the widow of the man responsible for Wyatt's unbearable sorrow. Wyatt knows Gabby is not to blame for the tragedy, so when she begs him to accept her troubled teenage son, Trevor, into the program, he reluctantly agrees. With some help and guidance from Ram, Wyatt's irascible but lovable father, Wyatt does his best to accept Gabby and Trevor's unsettling presence at the ranch. Even so, Wyatt still feels that he is somehow betraying his late wife's memory rather than honoring it.

But to his great surprise, Wyatt also finds himself drawn to Gabby's warmth, tenderness, and surprising ability to soothe his troubled soul. Day after day, their mutual attraction becomes more intense, more impossible to ignore. But to heal completely, Wyatt and Gabby must first overcome the common tragedy that separates them and learn the true nature of forgiveness. And only by conquering these seeming impossibilities might their hearts become free to love each other . . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Barclay takes the Nicholas Sparks formula out for a limping spin in his melodramatic debut weepy. Wyatt Blaine's happy world crumbles on his 35th birthday when his wife and his son are killed by a drunk driver. Five years later, Wyatt still hasn't recovered from their deaths, and Trevor MacPherson--the 14-year-old son of the man who killed Wyatt's family--is having problems at school and is offered one last chance: participate in the New Beginnings horse therapy program on the Blaine ranch. Blaine is shocked and furious when he finds out who Trevor is, but he allows him into the program. A bigger surprise comes in the form of Trevor's mother, Gabby, who is the most attractive and interesting woman Blaine has met since his wife's death. Barclay clearly knows a great deal about horsemanship, though the contrived romance angle is tough to get past, especially considering how central it is. Wyatt's irascible father provides some relief, but the clunky writing and maudlin aesthetic make this a nonstarter. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews

A horse-therapy program helps mitigate the tragic consequences of a drunk-driving accident, in businessman Barclay's debut.

The author's concept is solid. In a Boca Ratan auto crash, a drunk driver and the occupants of the vehicle he hit are killed. Five years later, Wyatt Blaine, whose wife Krista and son Danny died in the accident, and Gabrielle"Gabby" Powers, widow of the drunk driver, meet. Their minister has persuaded Wyatt to admit Gabby's troubled son, Trevor, to an equine-therapy program at the Blaine family's Flying B Ranch. Wyatt and Gabby are understandably wary of one another, and Trevor thinks Krista caused the accident. With such material, why is this earnest first novel about as riveting as a five-hour PowerPoint presentation? Perhaps it's the sluggish narration and excessive attention to preliminaries. The equine therapy doesn't even start until some 100 pages in. The program's impact on Gabby's son Trevor, whose combativeness in school, not helped by his retro–James Dean get-up, has him on the verge of expulsion, is never really shown—one minute he's slouching and not making eye contact, the next minute he's respectful to adults, having exchanged his greaser persona for a Stetson and cowboy boots. The attraction between Gabby and Wyatt is as rote as the appeal of Barbie for Ken, a pair they also resemble physically. Two minor characters threaten to run away with the story. Ramsey (Ram) Blaine, founder and patriarch of the Flying B, is desperately trying to stave off Alzheimer's and hold on to the reins as benevolent dictator and champion of underdogs like Trevor and Gabby. Then there is Mercy, a ranch hand who cleans up as well as any filly but can out-wrangle any guy, whether at horsemanship, poker or drinking. Her only weakness is her unrequited passion forWyatt. Several interesting conflicts are introduced but not developed—the preposterously catastrophic close hardly makes up the drama deficit.

A promising premise is scuttled by mawkish writing, dithering dialogue and a meandering plot.

NY Journal of Books
[If Wishes Were Horses] will satisfy fans of sweet romances and tender family sagas… Mr. Barclay weaves a quiet tale about people with hearts of gold, each barely coping with inner demons or tragic circumstances, who learn that they need one another in order to find redemption.
Romance Reviews Today
“IF WISHES WERE HORSES is chock full of wonderful characters. The novel is a moving one, at turns poignant, sad, dramatic, amusing, and hopeful.”
PBG Lifestyle Magazine
“A powerful story...You’ll rejoice in the triumphs experienced at a horse-therapy program for troubled teens and observe how results can best be achieved through actions.”
Earlene Scott
“I loved it. A great read myself and staff enjoyed very much, with wonderful characters and writing.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061966880
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/15/2011
Pages:
386
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.32(h) x 1.27(d)

What People are saying about this

Earlene Scott
“I loved it. A great read myself and staff enjoyed very much, with wonderful characters and writing.”

Meet the Author

After graduating from Colgate University with a B.A. in economics and a minor in art history, Robert Barclay enjoyed a successful career in business, also serving as chairman of his industry-related consulting group. After selling his business and moving to Florida from upstate New York (and with some prodding by his wife), he was finally able to devote his full attention to something he had always wanted to do—writing a book.

When he isn't writing, he enjoys weightlifting, practicing Shotokan karate, and going to the beach to do absolutely nothing.

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